The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction-the bipartisan Congressional “super” committee tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in budget savings-has begun its meetings in Washington. It must present a proposal to the full Congress by November 23 of this year. Even though there will be many different ideas and points of view, something we all can agree is that these proposals should not increase the burden of our economic recovery on people who are already struggling.
As we have said for months and months, Congress must take a balanced approach to reducing the deficit. We cannot cut services, just as we cannot increase taxes on everyone. The solution lies in the middle, and lawmakers must find it there. We ask Congress and the Joint Committee to use a simple test to apply to all measures presented to them. By asking three questions, lawmakers can guarantee that they do not increase the burden of economic recovery on those who already struggle to meet basic needs each day.
The Three Question Test
1. Does the bill under consideration require contribution from all Americans, including corporations and individuals at the top end of the economic spectrum?
2. Will the bill under consideration increase long-term or short-term poverty?
3. Are states protected from financial hardship, or does this bill simply shift costs to overburdened states?
By considering these three questions, lawmakers can ensure that all Americans participate in the recovery while still protecting those living in poverty. More than 27 percent of Arkansas children live in poverty. That is a family of four living on less than $22,800 per year. Lawmakers should know better than to make it harder for children living in these difficult situations to struggle toward contributing to our society and economy.
We encourage you to reach out to our Congressional members and ask them to keep these principles in mind as they consider the difficult task of attacking our nation’s long term debt. Our ability to protect our investments in children has a direct impact on our future economy. They need to hear your voice on these important issues. We will continue to track the developments of the Joint Committee and get the most important information to you.
Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific questions.